Is he out to win championships? Does he live to entertain the fans? Is it all about the money? No, all he cares about is destruction, preferably the destruction of other living things. His shadow stretches far, his footsteps fall hard, he strikes swiftly, his Battlecry being the only warning, if you're lucky. He's as strong as he is fast, as tough as he is agile, he's savage and is likely from Parts Unknown. He's a monster!
Some monsters are too dumb to understand anything other than fighting. Some are reasonably intelligent if a little disturbed, criminally psychotic by most standards outside of the wrestling world. Some turn out to not be that bad, simply misled by a depraved manager, but these are bad for the reigning champion, as the manager can give them a focus they would otherwise lack. A monster's strength and fury can be fueled by external forces like medicine that had unintended side effects on him. Some claim to have supernatural powers, some claim to be beasts that only take the guise of men.
What all monsters have in common is incredible endurance. They may be huge, but being big isn't enough. They may be crazy or vicious, but that still isn't enough. Many have power contested only by the The Giant or the World's Strongest Man along with the agility of high fliers, but to be a monster, he must also be insanely tough. Some will teeter but not fall. Others will always get back up. The worst seemingly Feel No Pain at all: move them, bruise them, cut open their bodies, but it will do little to slow them down. After all, reducing his selling is the easiest way to convince the audience this guy is abnormal.
The biggest thing that makes a monster different from The Giant is movement. Monsters are tough, but being unmovable is not nearly as important to their psychology as for giants. Monsters are also more likely to chase down fleeing foes than giants. Wrestlers will often be given giant gimmicks to emphasize their appearance while distracting viewers from their lack of talent. Monsters may lack in some areas of Wrestling Psychology or charisma, but the gimmick is usually given so a wrestler can spend more time showcasing their offensive moves without having to slow down too much to sell. The Wild Samoan is a subtrope.
The term "monster heel" is often used to describe this kind of wrestler, however, since monster gimmicks are usually given to talented athletes it is not unknown for them to take the face role. Depending on how abnormal the gimmick is supposed to be the face examples may overlap with Monster Knight.
- During the 1940s, the Russian born wrestler Maurice Tillet was starting to get over big in the United States as The French Angel. He was billed as "The World's Ugliest Man" and pushed as nearly unstoppable for two years as champion of the Boston territory(Known as The American Wrestling Association but unrelated to that one) and then of the Montreal Territory. He was one of the shortest examples of this trope, standing only at 5'7, which wasn't very tall even in his era, but he had acromegaly, which gave him a fearsome look. Throughout the forties and fifties, several other wrestlers would take up angel gimmicks in his wake.
- "Argentina's Mad Bull" Pampero Firpo, rumored to gain unnatural strength through his hair, which he had a lot of and was all but immune to what should have been the debilitating effect of pulling on it, possessing of Hard Head, asking not for nor giving of mercy.
- Bruiser Brody made a career of being a monster heel, and was one of the most feared men in the ring back in the day — so much so, in fact, that he may have been killed for it.
There are two common theories floating around as to why José Gonzalez killed Brody. One is that Gonzalez's daughter supposedly drowned in the swimming pool while on a visit to Brody's family's house.
Another is that Brody and Gonzalez were going to have a match together once, but Brody didn't want to do it because he thought Gonzalez was too small, which he also said to his face (he called Gonzalez a "fucking midget" to be precise.) Gonzalez then stabbed Brody but apparently did not intend to kill him. Unfortunately, Brody had taken 7 aspirins because he wanted to get a good blood flow in his match (a common trick in Pro Wrestling) and as a result he was bleeding too heavily for the doctors to save him. However, at the end of the day nobody knows why Gonzalez did it.
- Big Van Vader, in the early-to-mid 90's was, according to Mick Foley, "The greatest monster in the business", and Mick said he saw rookie wrestlers on several occasions actually quit WCW instead of work a match with Vader. Part of it was that Vader had a tendency to get carried away in the ring and was a notoriously "stiff" performer. In the words of Zach Arnold:
"He revolutionized what people thought of a monster heavyweight wrestler. He elevated the standards of what it meant to be an agile giant who could make fans believe that he could destroy everyone."
- Goldberg, who steamrolled through the entire roster during his WCW reign and became the biggest face in the company. His monster status became most obvious when he no-sold a flurry of offense from the similarly undefeated Glacier. It took a taser, and Kevin Nash's newly acquired superpowers as head booker, to keep him down.
- To put this in perspective, Goldberg has apparently never lost a match cleanly (save for a No DQ match, which may or may not count) until his WrestleMania 33 match with Brock Lesnar. In standard matches, he's always come out on top unless cheating is involved.
- The Undertaker, but less so during his biker gimmick. Being a soul-stealing zombie gravedigger, it came with the territory. Besides the standard monster endurance, he could also control electricity and instantly move through darkness.
- Kane, being the little brother of the Undertaker. He was less known for winning titles than for torturing the rest of the roster. Doomsday (his USWA gimmick) was a prototype of this character. In more recent days, it's been shown that Kane is extremely intelligent and fully aware of his monstrous nature, and has even served as the voice of reason at some points; he warned AJ Lee off of starting a relationship with him by explaining that his psychosis makes him "not exactly boyfriend material", and also served as the (relative) Straight Man in a team with Daniel Bryan.
- TNA's The Monster Abyss, being equal parts an expy of Mankind and Kane. His time spent not playing this role is considered something of a Dork Age.
- Cibernético trying to kill off his would be successor, Asesor Cibernético, caused him to come back from the dead as El Mesías, AAA's wrestling zombie. In TNA, Mesías was revealed to be Judas, brother of Abyss and son of James Mitchell.
- Psycho Sid was nominally billed as one, though many fans thought he fell short. He was pretty convincing against smaller guys like Shawn Michaels if nothing else.
- John Tenta during his heel run as Earthquake was this, with his finishing move being a running sitdown splash called the "Earthquake Splash", which he would often do over and over after the match had ended, usually resulting in his unfortunate opponent having to be carried out on a stretcher. He famously had a feud with Hulk Hogan himself in which he put Hogan out of commission for a while with the move after a sneak-attack during "The Brother Love Show", with Hogan subsequently recovering and defeating him in a series of matches across the country.
- Jon Heidenreich, a violent poem reading barbarian who could not accept the fact he lost to the Undertaker. Famously kidnapped and suggestively punished Michael Cole. Became best friends with Booker T after the latter bashed him upside the head with a chair; Heidenreich thought they were friends anyway.
- The Legion of Doom's primary members, The Road Warriors Hawk and Animal, a monster tag team. Heidenreich was also briefly in the Legion of Doom.
- "The Inhuman Monstrosity" Superbeast, most commonly seen in Empire State Wrestling and In Your Face Wrestling.
- Festus the "Corn Fed Colossus" was usually subdued, only becoming this trope when he heard the sound of a bell. It was revealed that his family were using drugs to keep him sedate, but Jesse discovered that bells made him come alive for some reason, and decided to sick him on WWE.
- Prior to this, Drew Hankinson had also played the gimmick of the impostor Kane. These days however, the monster gimmick is played down in his role as Luke Gallows.
- Batista used to be this trope, especially in OVW where he was "The Leviathan, The Demon Of The Deep, Guardian Of The Gates Of Hell, Right Hand Of The Devil Himself!". It pretty much came to an end once he was allowed to hold a microphone for over a minute. He remained a tough competitor, but lost the invincibility and the mystique.
- Brock Lesnar, the Next Big Thing. Smackdown had a nice amount of cruiserweight wrestlers to feed him and he was faster than most of them too. He also out-muscled those in his weight class and was pretty much booked to be an invincible heartless bastard, helped by the fact he broke Hardcore Holly's neck, and the fact he finished a match when his own was broken! And then he broke The Streak. And now, with a dominating win over John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 in the books, Lesnar is now being pushed as the ultimate, invincible monster.
- The scary thing is, Heyman's WWE promos touting Lesnar as unbeatable might indeed be true, if what Heyman said (in a legit interview about Lesnar's potential as an mixed-martial arts wrestler) about Lesnar being a once-in-a-lifetime athlete, comparable to Jim Thorpe, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlin, Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky are true (and Lesnar, who has had legit health issues including with diverticulitis, remains healthy).
- Hitting moonsaults while weighing around 91KG at 1.70 meters (201 pounds and 5'7") was impressive enough, but Bull Nakano sometimes completely no-sold back suplexes just to drive in how futile her opponent's effort was.
- Amazing Kong/Awesome Kong/Kharma has been booked as a giant style wrestler, but she can play this role as well. Best seen in TNA where she started as an immovable giant but became better known for never staying down, her all around skill and her evil manager.
- Her "mentor/rival" Aja Kong is a similar case, who (not unlike the Undertaker) played a monster that claimed to be worse than the devil, yet was a face for long portions of her career. She was even built up as a monster in the WWF where she practically won the Survivor Series by herself.
- To address complaints fans had over Samoa Joe's booking, TNA tried to turn him into one of these. Given the trope's nature, this only led to more complaints. Full Impact Pro had managed to give Joe the whole monster angle to much greater success before hand (but they didn't have a national TV deal)
- The Boogeyman was more so this trope in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he appeared out of nowhere when the heels spoke his name and briefly no-sold whatever they tried before beating them around the arena. Not so much in WWE, but he would still only briefly gyrate when struck with anything less than a mallet or a Signature Move and would just keep coming. He broke clocks over his head, carried around a heart, and swallowed and regurgitated worms to be force-fed to the wrestlers he defeated. Face. Unlike similar monster gimmicks, The Boogeyman did not have any powers. He was just an actor for a canceled UPN show who got Lost in Character, though he was billed from "The Bottomless Pit".
- Speaking of Kharma, the original Awesome Kong was one half of a tag team. The Colossal Kongs are most famous for their odd dress and for being called the worst tag team of 1993 by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, but they were convincing monsters. Pretty much all their matches were Squash Matches that were over in under four minutes. That is, until WCW Clash of the Champions XXIV, August 18, 1993, when they found themselves facing Badass Normal Ric Flair and Lightning Bruiser Sting. More specifically, Sting, who slammed both 400 lbs.+ guys in succession with ease and hit Awesome with a Stinger (leaping to opponent in the corner) Splash and a top rope splash for the win in about 2:14.
- Already something of an Invincible Hero, WCW tried to turn the Ultimate Warrior into one of these. He had many squash matches, but the run is mostly remembered for an infamous mirror scene.
- Papa Shango, who would often drop the wrestling and simply use a Voodoo curse to defeat his opponents, not that he couldn't get it done in the ring.
- Big Bad Mama of GLOW had voodoo powers too, but she used hers for mind control. Eventually, someone turned her voodoo around on her, so she resorted to squashing wrestlers the old fashion way. She even got to use the gimmick on an episode of Married... with Children. May she rest in peace. Matilda The Hun was a more mundane example, being a large indomitable athlete with Foreign Wrestling Heel overtones. Both of them feuded with Mount Fiji, the only one who could undermine Mama's voodoo powers and Hun's claims of master race superiority.
- Evil Dead, JCW's wrestling corpse. A little less intact than the Undertaker, his outer layer of flesh is gone. He feels no pain, knows no fear, and has to be restrained by a pair of Monster Clowns when he's not in matches. However, his testicles are still alive, and thus still vulnerable.
- There was an attempt to get world judo champion and STO innovator Naoya Ogawa some monster cred by having him squashing smaller wrestlers and then fight evenly with Goldberg.
- President Ramu, lovingly nicknamed by fans as "La hija del Undertaker", was an eight year old girl whose strength was boosted to superhuman levels after she was possessed by a demon.
- Missy Sampson, Aka Big Van Missy, WSU's riff on Vader.
- Mordecai, a zealous Christian-in-all-but-name out to prove strength in the faith of God to all the sinners of the world, was one of the many monster characters WWE introduced with the failed long term plan of feuding with The Undertaker. Unfortunately, Kevin Fertig (the man who played him) had stage fright issues, and had to go back to developmental. He later got called back up and repackaged as Kevin Thorn, a wrestling vampire out to feed on the blood of ECW. Kevin Thorn was a "legit" ECW monster after they ran weeks worth of parodies such as shambling zombies for the Sandman to beat with his cane. Fans suspect he was there to meet the science fiction requirement, back when Syfy was still called Sci Fi.
- Gangrel and Rio Storm are two more wrestling vampires and they are known for teaming up on occasion. Rio Storm is the more monstrous of the two. He'd also team up with Billy Blade in the tag team known as "Bloodline" and sometimes have Ariel as a valet, whom Billy claimed to have "turned".
- HUSTLE had a flying vampire tag team.
- LLF has Reina Vampira and Vampireza.
- One half of Wrestlicious's "Ghouls Gone Wild" was wrestling Vampire Draculetta. The other half, White Magic, was a hoodoo sorceress.
- After Hulk Hogan's No Holds Barred movie, someone got the bright idea to bring his opponent Zeus from the movie into the wrestling world and give him the same monster gimmick. He completely no-sold everything unless his opponents went for his eyes, which not only hurt but apparently made him vulnerable to other things.
- Apocalypse in UPW, who was basically a stand in for WWE's Kane. In HUSTLE he was the Himalayan Bigfoot and could take a whole lot of punishment without flinching because of his Delayed Reactions but moved really slow. Bigfoot would move a lot faster though if someone poured ice cubes on him.
- The monster army of Fighting Opera Hustle would expand its members by brainwashing regular wrestlers and then turning them into monsters too, such as turning Sonjay Dutt into Monster J, Steve Corino into Monster C or in the case of extant ones, more monstrous, such as MONSTER Naoya Ogawa.
- Because HUSTLE loved this trope, Generalissimo Takada introduced a superpowered cyborg based on him called The Esperanza, who could even shoot wrestlers with Frickin' Laser Beams. He was so powerful that not even the legendary Great Muta could defeat him.
- Monster Bono of HUSTLE, born when The Great Muta's green mist got on the crotch of Yinling The Erotic Terrorist. The Manchild was one of the too-dumb-to-know-better examples, as he lost his daddy to The Esperanza and he accidentally Killed Off his mother.
- CHIKARA of course has a few, such as the mute swamp monster.
- Kaiju Big Battel is basically what happens when 90% of the roster is made up of wrestling monsters, many of whom have Size Shifter powers.
- The first ever World Wrestling League Heavy Weight Champion, Monster Pain, as his manager Mistress Glenda Lee would tell you in so many words if his name fails to get the point across. In fact, she has to keep him chained up when away from the ring and sometimes even that doesn't work.
- Argentinan Titanes En El Ring had La Momia, or the "The Mummy"
- The Dungeon of Doom had several: Kamala, the Shark (John Tenta), Meng (whose Red Baron was "The Monster", though that came only after the group had disbanded), Loch Ness, and, most importantly, the centerpiece the Giant (Paul "The Big Show" Wight).
- Angel Trinidad from All-Star Championship Wrestling was presented as a wrestling monster in training. He was very large but was not done growing yet and had not completely created his aura of invincibility.
- Mil Muertes in Lucha Underground. To wrestle him is to lose horribly.
- And that's if you're lucky enough to not cross paths with the arm-breaking Pentagon Dark. Pentagon is an interesting variant on this trope as he's not huge, unstoppable, unshakable, implacable, or monstrous; in fact, he's mostly a technical wrestler who largely specialises in submissions. What he does have on his side is sheer brutal, sadistic viciousness that makes him one of the most outright dangerous men on the roster.
- Cage "The Machine" is another example- bulging with muscles, stuffed with brutality and almost impossible to put down, he absolutely HATES it when an opponent gets up after he's knocked them down and will make them pay for their audacity. Not a perfectly straight example as although he's a power wrestler, he's also startlingly agile for his size (like most of the LU roster) and is easily capable of flying over the top rope in pursuit of his victims... which only makes him even more intimidating!
- Matanza Cueto quickly stole the mantle of the biggest monster in Lucha Underground. His brother Dario Cueto entered him as the last man in Aztec Warfare, and Matanza made quick work of nearly half the active roster, winning the Lucha Underground title in emphatic fashion. Like Cage, Matanza isn't a giant (while he's scarily bulky, he's only about 5'10"), but also like Cage he's also much more agile than a man that strong has any right to be, capable of pulling off a standing shooting star press!
- Incredibly, Joke Character turned Lethal Joke Character Marty "the Moth" Martinez may even be verging on this status. He's a complete lunatic, his style has been getting more vicious and sadistic as time goes on (culminating in him going completely Abdullah the Butcher on Fenix's forehead with a steel fork and then licking it) and he's a full-blown Combat Sadomasochist who openly invites big opponents like Mil Muertes to give him their best shot in the face and then shrugs it off with a Slasher Smile. The fact that he can randomly go off after anyone for the most insane reasons gives him an extra air of menace, like he's a ticking time bomb walking around the Temple. He still doesn't win many matches and is mid-card at best, but the pieces are there for him to be at least a semi-credible monster.
- United States champion Rusev may border on it, but so far he's been billed as an indestructible fighting machine who has so far defeated everyone in his path, with only one person unofficially giving him his first real defeat since his debut. And then he had the misfortune running into Roman Reigns...
- "The American Tragedy" Zack Monstar would start out as an expy to Jason from ''Friday The Thirteenth" movies in New Era Wrestling and also show up as the "human horror show" in Nova Pro. REAL Pro Wrestling, by contrast, decided to give him a Freaky Is Cool baby face push, though he remained as violent as ever and thrived in gimmick matches.
- Following the new Brand Extension in 2016, Raw gained two: Former Wyatt Family henchman Braun Strowman for the men, and Nia Jax of the Samoan wrestling dynasty for the women. Both have routinely squashed jobbers (up to three at once in Strowman's case), and each also has curb stomped a main roster opponent twice (Sin Cara for Strowman, Alicia Fox for Nia). Both are sold as unstoppable monsters in their respective divisions, with the Raw commentary crew often wondering how one stops Strowman, and Strowman has even gone so far as to personally threaten Raw general manager Mick Foley in the name of getting better competition. As a result, he got Sami Zayn.
- Conversely, SmackDown has only one: Baron Corbin. He hasn't bothered much with jobbers, unlike Strowman and Jax, and went straight up after the main roster superstars that irked him, such as Kalisto and Jack Swagger, curb stomping almost all of them. His finisher, the End of Days, has never been kicked out of after he's delivered it to his opponent. And at the Royal Rumble Corbin did the thing many other wrestlers would consider impossible: he eliminated Strowman.
- WWE NXT's women's division has Asuka who's one of the rare examples where a wrestler is this trope through sheer technique. She's not the biggest wrestler in the division, however she makes up for it with her ability to execute a wide assortment of strikes and submissions at lightning speed, and can suplex people bigger than her with relative ease. Not only did she beat Nia Jax, another wrestling monster, one way bigger than her, but she's amassed a win streak bigger than Goldberg's.
Anime And Manga
- One Piece has Jesus Burgess, a Top Heavy ogre of a man who claims to be a wrestling champion and instigates fights with whoever he can to prove it. He is strong enough to rip a hotel from the ground and toss it at his enemies.
- A few heels in Tiger Mask have such gymmicks.
- A story arc in City Hunter had a gang leader use help from his Yakuza boss father to enlist the help of a gigantic former wrestler who was banned from fighting for killing an opponent. Ryo beat the crap out of him off-screen, and even complained about it having been too easy.
- One show up in Kyou Kara Ore wa!!, having been hired as a bodyguard by the villain of that story arc... Who loses control of him. Mitsuhashi, who was the one who pissed him off, defeats him by tricking him into a race until he became tired before punching him out.
- A story in the Batman manga has a masked wrestling Monster Heel known as the Hangman (guess the gimmick), who tries to set himself up as an Anti-Hero Substitute for Batman. It is revealed that he was outright evil from the beginning, talking a brain-damaged retired wrestler into committing a robbery so that he could kill him to set up his rep as a ruthlessly effective vigilante. The story climaxes with Batman invading a wrestling show and challenging him to a "loser unmasks" match.
- Since All Myths Are True in Marvel's Fantasy Kitchen Sink, wrestling leagues often employed real monsters. Most of these were from the group known as the Deviants, who were too ugly to live unexposed in regular society.
- "The Other" in Super Pro K.O., a bizarre, massive creature who seems to have tentacles coming out of his head. It doesn't talk, it has very unclear motivations for everything it does, and it's pretty much an even more mysterious, creepy, and threatening version of the Undertaker.
- Waylon Jones a.k.a. "Killer Croc" has a rare condition which gives him a crocodilian appearance as well as superhuman strength and endurance. For a time he wrestled as part of a traveling circus, where his monstrous nature was an advantage.
- Parodied in Nacho Libre. The local monster team is made of two hairy, horned, beast men who squeal like pigs...and are only three feet tall...and pull of some of the most impressive offensive maneuvers in the whole film.
- El Mascarado from the slasher film Wrestlemaniac is a luchador serial killer who 'unmasks' his victims by ripping their faces off.
- In the first Spider-Man movie, Bonesaw McGraw embodies this during his brief moment on screen. He is kicking the crap out of an entire gauntlet of wrestlers to the point where one has to be carried out on a stretcher. Even though Peter is a superhuman, he is still nervous when he gets into the ring. Of course, his demeanor changes once he realizes he can beat Bonesaw.
- Monster Brawl is a most literal example, featuring a wrestling tournament for monsters.
- No Holds Barred has Zeus, played by 'Tiny' Lister.
Live Action TV
- The Golden Boy from Night Man was given this kind of gimmick and he secretly hated it because Kayfabe meant people thought he was a monster in real life.
- Kenny vs. Spenny: In the episode "Who's the Best Pro Wrestler," Spenny becomes "The Nice Guy", and Kenny becomes "Yarp Yarp," an uncontrollable monster from an experiment gone wrong.
- In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the gladiator Theokoles The Shadow Of Death is portrayed as something of an Ancient Roman version of this. He's a huge man who mostly screams and hisses instead of speaking, takes ungodly amounts of punishment, and sometimes pretends to be dead so that he can shock the crowd and his opponents by "coming back to life".
- Vampire: The Masquerade had the Extreme Wrestling Confederation, run by a subsidiary of Pentex, in which vampires, shapeshifters and other supernaturals compete. First mentioned in the Children of the Night source book, along with the Nosferatu luchador El Diablo Verde.
- It's worth noting that WWE took the name "Gangrel" and the whole idea of the Brood, his team with Edge and Christian, from this game. Any CDs that included his music or any releases/publications that included Gangrel always included a mention in the liner notes/credits that Gangrel was a trademark of White Wolf, Inc.
- Another literal example can be found in "The Unspeakables", an entire team of wrestling eldritch abominationsnote in the Street Fighter The Storytelling Game RPG. Ironically, it was also done by White Wolf.
- In Pro Wrestling, the Amazon is a masked wrestler who plays a Half-Human Hybrid and bites people.
- "Monster" is one of the reversal templates one can choose for their CAW in the WWE Day Of Reckoning games. It and UNDERTAKER are the most elaborate of the "big man" choices and Undertaker's an example of this trope anyway.
- Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters II brings us Wraith, a hulking brute in a cloak who attacks by producing snakes from his sleeves and hood.
- On one episode of Kim Possible Executive Promoter of GWA (Global Wrestling Association), Jackie Oakes uses an Upgrade Artifact to turn himself into a giant jackal man and attacks the wrestlers booked in the main event without anyone batting an eye because they think it's All Part of the Show. It actually was planned to be part of the show but Jackie turned it into a shoot. His two prized wrestlers, Pain King and Steel Toe (Goldberg and Andrew "Test" Martin), were also this trope, but their biggest real life fault was to think the idea of Jackie fighting them was a joke.
- The What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "Wrestle Maniacs" had the gang come up against a monstrous wrestler known only as the Titanic Twist, so named because he was given a forbidden wrestling move of the same name that caused both of his arms to be on one side of his body.
- Parodied in the Dial M For Monkey episode "Rasslor," a Whole Plot Reference to Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7. The title character, an unbeatable alien pro wrestler (voiced by Randy Savage) comes to Earth to challenge its greatest heroes for the fate of the world. He clobbers the Justice Friends until only Monkey is left. Despite being repeatedly pounded into the ground, Monkey refuses to give up. His display of fortitude moves Rasslor to spare the Earth for producing an opponent whose spirit could not be broken.
- The Pro Wrestling Episode of Steven Universe has Amethyst turning into a huge (male) wrestler named Purple Puma to compete in the local circuit and proves pretty much unstoppable. In a possible inversion, Amethyst is actually a super-powered alien, but seems to be trying to pretend she's a human so the other Crystal Gems won't find out about her. Amethyst is also too interested in beating people up to cultivate any specific image, only managing to be an effective heel thanks to Steven's showmanship once he becomes her tag partner.